Thursday, July 21, 2011

Keep your eyes open... another TPoIT exclusive coming

Your dutiful host has just conducted an interview, for the blog, with an artist near and dear to the blog. Watch this space for the full interview soon!

Lots of historical ground covered, all in all a great discussion that I believe will be the most in depth history and discussion of this band anywhere on the Internets.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Seam: 23 February 1994 Freidrichshafen, Germany SOUNDBOARD

Another nice Sooyoung Park-related treat for my followers today.

The same kind fellow who provided me the recent Bitch Magnet recording also supplied me with a Seam master, this time with a bit more lineage known.  My source himself taped this 23 February 1994 gig at The Bunker at Jugendhaus Molke, Freidrichshafen, Germany via soundboard patch - and it's terrific.

Now I'm not hip with the Seam trading circles (heh! Is there even one?) so I have no idea if this gig saw circulation or not.  If it did, I certainly never had it.  Well, I only have two other Seam live sets, one of which I recorded myself and eventually we will get to it here.

This is a great set from a transitional period for this band.  The sound is stellar, the track selection also fantastic.  The playing... well, my source - who was there, as he recorded it - says this was a gig where Seam filled in for Bedhead at the last minute, as Matt "Biznono" Kadane had fallen ill and Bedhead had to cancel.  So, on this snowy, cold February night, only 5 or so attended this gig.  The playing shows: while the guitars and drums are in top form, the bass - perhaps a sign of Lexi being on the way out? - isn't.  Perhaps I'm being too harsh... mostly the bass is fine, but when it's not, it's clearly not.

The sound mix is a bit wonky, but again, I'm sure it sounded great to the five who were there.

One thing that I love about this set is the dynamic it brings out from the Headsparks LP tracks ("Atari"/"Grain"/"Decatur"/"Sky City"), in the live setting.  Headsparks is my least favorite Seam LP, because I think the recording itself is too murky/poor to appreciate; here, the songs really come to life and explode out of the players, greatly increasing my appreciation of these tracks.

Another thing that gets my geek out about this set is that it features a track that wasn't recorded until the following year, with a completely new lineup, "Two Is Enough" (which also happens to be near the top of my "Favorite Seam Songs" listing, not that I actually have one compiled but...).  They have it pretty well sorted out here, gun to my head I probably would be able to tell it wasn't the same players as on the recorded version (the bass (again!) gives it away), nevertheless it's wonderful.

The lineup here, as far as we can tell:

Sooyoung Park - guitars, vocals
Craig White - guitars
Lexi Mitchell - bass
Bob Rising - drums

At some point after this gig - the Internets are woefully unclear on the timing - Sooyoung completely rebuilt the band, replacing his entire surrounding cast.

But wait... in researching the photographs to use for this post I came across an odd picture at Seam's myspace page, the below:

Here, we see Sooyoung and Lexi (she is 2nd from right), surrounded by the "new" Reg Schrader (left, guitar) and Chris Manfrin (right, drums).  Which implies that the band itself was in a transitional state at one point, being a mixture of the old and the new.

Here's something else...

This photo shows someone playing guitar to Sooyoung's right, that is not Craig White and looks like Reg instead, and also features Lexi on bass.  This is allegedly from 1993. 

Which lineup, then, played here?  I have no fucking clue.  Do I ultimately care, really?  No, because the music's stellar.

So enjoy! Lossless FLAC, of course.

23 February 1994
The Bunker at Jugendhaus Molke
Freidrichshafen, Germany

Soundboard master (at least I presume master...), recorded by Uwe
Tarted up by the Analog Loyalist July 2011


01 Kernel
02 Atari
03 Grain
04 Decatur
05 Sweet Pea
06 Bunch
07 Sky City
08 Two Is Enough
09 Rafael
10 Something's Burning
11 Dust and Turpentine

Grab it here.

Any other readers have any Seam or Bitch Magnet recordings to share?  The Internets need more! Lots more!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bitch Magnet redux: 22 December 1990 Jugendhaus, Ravensburg Germany

Here's yet another reason why I love the Internets.

In response to my earlier post seeking out random records, a kind follower of this blog offered up to me, without asking, a few random live sets by bands I'd blogged previously.  Out of the blue.  Now I've not heard many live sets of this band previously, just the few scattered here and there on the Internet, and they were all of (relative) poor quality.  So I was not expecting much, honestly.

Lo and behold, this Bitch Magnet tape from 22 December 1990 at the Jugendhaus in Ravensburg, Germany blew my mind.  It is *awesome*.  Clear, powerful, nearly flawless.  I'm not sure if it's a well-positioned audience recording, or a soundboard with a prominent room mic in the mix.  There are very few (read: I can't recall any, off hand) audience recordings that I've heard, of any band, that can be easily misconstrued as a mixing desk tape - but this could be it.

According to BM guitarist Jon Fine, this set was opened by the terrible "proto-emo" Utah band Bad Yodelers, apparently the less said about them the better.  The players here were Sooyoung Park - bass/vocals, Jon Fine - guitar, and Pete Pollack - drums.  Or, as the band would have it according to the "let's introduce the band" segment, "King Edward van Roeser" - bass/vocals, "Brian Baker" formerly of Minor Threat/Dag Nasty - guitars, and "Dr. Rock, Ben Daughtrey" - drums.  Haha.

A few oddities:  Here and there there is a very prominent and off-putting reverb effect on the drums, which I can imagine being added by some home remasterer (hey!) upstream of me.  But I don't think so, I think it was part of the live sound that night, and it's just odd to hear.  But I quickly got over it.

The actual mix isn't the greatest, but I can't really complain, as we are not talking a 2" 24-track mobile recording either.  Just an amazing band in a tiny space, with a boisterous crowd (that apparently consists entirely of American expats, based on the chatter), playing their songs.

Let's roll the tapes, err, lossless FLACs...

22 December 1990 Jugendhaus, Ravensburg, Germany

taper: Who knows!
lineage: I don't really care! But low-generation.
Soundboard/audience: Can't really tell!

photo: Lexi Mitchell

01 Dragoon
02 Punch and Judy
03 Big Pining
04 Lookin' At The Devil
05 Mesentery
06 Ducks and Drakes
07 Sea Of Pearls
08 Sadie

A short set, but Sooyoung says they ran out of songs they knew.  Perhaps this tape is not entirely complete, as there were several edit points between random tracks, but unless the taper him/herself surfaces, we'll never know.  And I'm not complaining.

I took the raw tape capture provided to me, worked all sorts of the Analog Loyalist magic on it, and now it's yours.

grab it here and enjoy!

Now let's see this band get their long overdue due, with their upcoming reunion dates in December 2011 in England, and let's see the catalog reissues come with all tracks from all releases compiled!